Village Primary School AidCamp

Cameroon - November 2009

The purpose of this Group AidCamp was to refurbish a dilapidated school in the small village of Teloh, in the North West Province of Cameroon.

The following report was written by Rupert, one of our volunteers on the project:

"If international airports are about creating favourable first impressions, Douala Airport does nothing for Cameroon, but it in no way reflects this lovely, vibrant, hospitable country. 

Certainly, its people are, by any measure, very poor but they are warm, welcoming and generous. During this AidCamp project we twelve volunteers had the privilege and pleasure of working amongst people from a rural, isolated village in the North West Province.   We saw Cameroon from the "bottom up"; nothing could have been further from a tourist resort.

After a long, long journey north, over terrible roads, the team finally arrived in the village of Teloh, our home for the next three weeks.  The welcome from both children and adults of the village took our breath away.  Song and dance is in the blood of the Cameroonians and it is infectious: their evident joy and excitement was palpable and very moving.

The old village primary school was in a sorry state and part of it had actually collapsed.  The core structure for four new classrooms and an office had already been built.  It was our daily task to provide the relatively unskilled labour to finish the project – plastering, painting, mixing concrete, digging - that sort of thing. It was, of course, hot and sometimes tiring, but hugely rewarding in that we were able to see the buildings move from shells to fully functioning classrooms. 

The children, several hundred of them, took a massive interest and would come and watch our work whenever they could.  Although these children have next to nothing by our material standards, their happiness, humour and warmth provided us with the incentive to see the job through.  Their enthusiasm for what we would consider the most simple of pleasures, blowing bubbles or running an obstacle race, will remain in our memories.

At the end of three weeks we had met our deadline; the classrooms were finished and ready for use. There was a farewell with moving and heartfelt speeches of thanks and much more dancing and singing.  We Aidcamp volunteers attempted our own little dance and song routine; this caused hilarity but was massively appreciated by this generous, warm, open and very friendly village population. 

We left the following day with genuine sadness but with a sense of pride too: pride that we were leaving behind something tangible, a school which would educate many hundreds of children and make a real difference to this community.  I believe that Aid Camps taught all of us valuable, lasting lessons and gave us an experience that we could never have found anywhere else".  


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